So yesterday was my shopping day. In a whirlwind of Steve & Barry's, H&M, Macy's and a million unnamed stores I managed to do very little damage. I did find the elusive red coat I've been needing and some fabulous scarves in Chinatown.
Pausing in my orgy of consumerism, I realized I was starving and I found a delicious sushi place packed with people who work for a living (always a good sign). I ordered the tempura udon. Ooh, it was so huge and so good. Big fat squishy noodles, a sweet dashi, floating fish cakes, shreds of carrot, cabbage and and and . . . The tempura was so light and crispy; it was over the top fried goodness.
Speaking of fried goodness, today I'm off to the East Village. After a haircut, I'll be indulging in Pomme Frites. I'm hoping for a transcendental french fry experience before heading to the Upper East Side and The Frick.
Once upon a time (twelvish years ago), I lived in New York. It was before I had a real job, before I had a dog, before I had a tattoo and before I’d met most of the people I call my friends. Yet somehow, so much of who I am is wrapped up in this state.
I lived in a bucolic academic neverneverland and made frequent trips to The City. It’s where I fell deeply in love with art, history and writing. I think it also made me who I am socially. I became a confirmed extrovert, I became sarcastic, irreverent and silly. Whatever was there before, it grew and flourished. Good or bad, this is I trace a lot of myself back to this place.
So now I’ve come back for a visit. Part of it is to satisfy my passion for art, food, shopping and wandering.
Can I manage to be three places at one? It would really make things so much easier.
I'll have all kinds of tasty treats to post from the road.
Sometimes, you've just gotta get out of town.
I've been meaning to make a No Soliciting sign for months, but it just wasn't getting done. I would see the occasional takeout menu or religious "Good news!" stuck in my doorway and say "This weekend! By God! This weekend I'll make a sign!" But then I would decide I had to get out of town, go to the beach or finish some damn book so I could finally find out whodunnit.
You know how it is.
Last weekend, as Nikita was hurling herself against the screen door snarling at some terrified Mormons, I resolved to get the sign made.
So here it is. The photos are terrible, but I'll put up a nice photo once it's securely in place.
I found an old metal sign with rolled metal edges for $1 and gave it a good dose of spray primer. I used acrylics to create the flesh backgrond, which is hopefully reminiscent of tattoo flash paper. The swallow is based on several tattoos I found and the text is a mish-mosh of fonts, tattoos and my own head.
I used carbon paper and pencil to sketch out the designs and a fine-tipped acrylic paint pen to outline everything. A little highlighting and fill-work with a brush and it was done. I'll do a quick coat of sealant and that should do it.
Now we see if they'll actually read the sign.
Delicious cupcakes were baked (and forgotten) for work this morning. They were made from a standard yellow cake recipe, but I used half a vanilla bean to add the beany goodness. The frosting is a bit of cream cheese, a bit of butter, sugar, cocoa and a drop of whiskey. The cream cheese helps with the fluffiness and the butter keeps it moist.
Luckily, we avoided a treat-free morning. My lovely Irish co-worker brought in some beautiful Irish soda bread with butter and jam. It's so good with a nice cup of tea.
I am proud to admit that I come from a frugal people. Both sides of my family, regardless of relative wealth, are filled with thrifty shoppers, crafters, cooks and putterers. For example, my wonderful and unique great-aunt was a shrewd shopper and could wrangle a good deal out of anyone. I have many stories about her thriftiness, but one of my favorite is about her final gift to me. When she passed away, my mother was responsible for handling her estate and had the job of sorting through all her possessions. Many of the items had been set aside for me or my mother (rightfully) assumed I would love them. She found a wonderfully kitschy ceramic hen bun-warmer* filled with thousands of Betty Crocker points . . . from the last 35 years.
I used them to buy all my kitchen supplies at a discount and think of her every time I use my silicone spatulas or pyrex measuring cups. That, my friend, is thriftiness that spans decades.
*If you don't laugh when you type "bun-warmer," there's something wrong with you.
There are many fabulous traits associated with the female sex, but bridal and baby showers do not bring them out. Not only does everyone insist on serving those tasteless little pinwheel wrap sandwiches (what's wrong with a good egg salad or smoked salmon?), but there are the games. Fertheloveoflittlekittens, the games!
Why do we insist on these ridiculous games of name that baby product? Don't make me guess the flavor of that baby food! Don't melt a candy bar in a diaper! Finally, do not force me to make a wedding dress out of toilet paper.
This innocent little pillow was a prize at a wedding shower. Not only is it far too small to be of any real use, it was covered with fake pearls. How sweet! Anyway, I ripped the pearls off, but it was still sad and boring and beige.
It now has a new bedazzled life covered with vintage buttons and beads. It may not be the coziest of cushions, but it does sparkle. What girl doesn't love a little sparkle?
So when I put together my all-girl-punk-emo- new-wave-folk-cover-tribute band, we'll totally practice in my garage. Our name will be Broken Phrenology Head and our first self-produced (natch!) album will be title Bumpy.
All this was decided about ten years ago after I dropped this phrenology head on the way home from Portobello Road market. I was so distressed after breaking it, that my friend Emily bought Pringles and chocolates and we came up with ways to salvage the head. Luckily a little super glue restored the basic shape and it now sits peacefully on my shelf. Sometimes I stick little seasonal decorations in the neck hole and find it amusing that I'm decorating my broken phrenology head for the holidays. So festive!
It serves as a reminder that the ring-finger is the weakest finger and not strong enough to hold a bag full of fragile treasures and a deli sandwich.
I've started experimenting with handmade bags and run across a couple things:
1. The possibilities are overwhelming Deciding on the outside fabric and design is hard enough, but then there's the lining to contend with.
2. I need a magic sewing machine that can shrink down to 1/100th scale and fit inside a half-sewn purse. Sometimes I just have to give up and do a little handsewing.
3. Purse handles are EXPENSIVE. You can spend twice as much on the handle as the fabric, thread, interface, etc.
So, my solution has been to find other crafty supplies that can make respectable handle stand-ins. My wave bag (entered in craftster's Represent Your Hometown Challenge) has red lacquer handles made from wooden letter Ds. They cost a fraction of the price and complement the overall wave design.
Os, Cs, probably even Ps could all work, they'll cost you about $1 each and you can paint, carve, decoupage, burn and decorate them to you heart's content.